Ways to Give Back This New Year
by Hailey Goldberg
This Rosh Hashanah, many of us will make a commitment to live a better life. With recent events such as Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma striking families throughout the South and the Caribbean this past month, it is important to focus not only on bettering ourselves this New Year, but also on helping those around us. After all, a better community does eventually lead to a better you. Here are some ways you can contribute:
Participate in Environmental Cleanups
Cleaning up local parks can be done by your, in groups or through planned events. Dirty parks are often never visited, especially after storms when most become extremely unsafe due to branches and other debris that is scattered around the park. Going to a park and doing something as simple as picking up the trash on the ground and putting it in a trashcan, or picking up fallen branches around the park, can prevent accidents and f make a big impact. Checking online with your local parks department for organized park clean ups is also a good way to help clean up your environment. Frequently, these organized park cleanups involve activities such as graffiti cleanups, planting new flowers and other plants after the old ones have been destroyed, and fixing up benches and jungle gyms to make them safer for those who visit the park.
Volunteer at local Community Shelters
Whether you know it or not, almost every community has multiple shelters that can use an extra hand, especially right after a natural disaster. Many people are displaced from their homes and seek out places to sleep and eat, often finding relief at their local shelter. During these times, shelters are understaffed and as a result are under kept. Simply looking up “where is my local community shelter” can provide you with a list of the many places that need volunteers to help keep their shelter running smoothly during the times that they become overpopulated. When volunteering at local shelters, activities can range from something as simple as serving food to making beds. Going to help out makes a lazy Sunday into one that is meaningful and impactful.
Donate Unused Clothing and Household Items
As much as most of us do not want to admit, unworn clothes sit in our closets going untouched for months or even years. These clothes can go a long way for those who do not have the resources to buy clothes of their own. Clothing drop locations can be found on the Salvation Army’s website. If there is not a clothing drop box near you, you can even schedule a local pickup so the drop box comes to you. Going through your closest and picking out even just one piece of clothing you no longer wear can help those who could have just lost everything.
Make Rosh Hashanah Gift Baskets for Those Who Were Displaced
Apples and a jar of honey will put a smile on anyone’s face. Throw in a circular challah, some almonds, cashews, pecans and most importantly a sweet loaf of honey bread to insure a sweet New Year. Often times, small gestures like putting together a Rosh Hashanah gift basket goes a long way and brings a little bit of light and happiness into the lives of those who need it the most.
Giving back can be so simple but the small gestures you make can make a big impact on those around you who are looking for help. Not only does participating in good deeds make those around you happier, you will also be happier knowing you participated in events that made people’s day just a little bit easier to get through. Volunteering can connect you with so many individuals in your community who you might have never met before! Who knows, you can even meet a NJG or a NJB in the process. If this happens and your relationship with your newly found NJG or NJB is ready to take the next step, always remember that JScreen is here for you along the way.
Originally from Queens, New York, Hailey Goldberg is currently a sophomore studying Applied Biotechnology at the University of Georgia. After graduating, Hailey hopes to continue her education in Medical School in order to pursue a carrier as a Reproductive Endocrinologist.